The Question Bag
The question bag is an idea that came from praying about my grandchildren. (I have 18 of them, ranging in age from 3 months to 19 years, with an assortment of personalities and interests.) One day while praying them, I asked the Holy Spirit what I could do to love them and share my faith, I knew the answer as soon as I heard it. “Spend TIME with each of them individually.” In response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I came up with the idea of the question bag!
It was not complicated…..I GOOGLED it! I searched the internet for questions pertinent to children ages five to eleven and twelve to fifteen. I copied the questions I thought were appropriate and put them in two labeled bags. Some questions were simple. What’s your favorite birthday dinner? What’s your most fun family activity? Some were deeper and more thought provoking. What do you think heaven will be like? What does it mean to be a good friend? If you could go back three years in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Inspired by my own mother who actively reached out to my children, I planned “dates” with my grandchildren. Older ones I took for breakfast or ice cream. With younger ones, I visited the pet store or a park. Typically, over food or snacks, we shared the question bag. I assured them that anything they said would be considered “confidential.” I allowed them to put back any question they didn’t want to answer and draw another. There were no right or wrong answers, but often, additional questions were generated from our discussions. Some grandchildren wanted to answer only a few questions, while others wanted to go through the whole bag!
Over time, the question bag has borne much fruit. I have learned things from my grandchildren and I have learned things about my grandchildren. I have been able to encourage them regarding situations specific to their own lives. The time spent together has deepened our love for each other.
My grandchildren often mention the question bag and some will now turn the tables and ask me questions. Last October, I received a phone call from my grandson asking if he could take me out for my birthday lunch. We laughed about the question bag, but both of us knew we could talk more openly and deeply because of that simple, yet powerful, game.
I recently made another bag. It is a question bag, but for the Holy Spirit. Inside the bag is one question. “What’s your next idea?” I don’t know what the answer will be but one thing is for sure — HE does have something in mind! No question about it.
Norma Provinsal is a grandmother of 18 and lives in Berkeley Heights, NJ.
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